Western Australia’s Kimberley region offers four remote luxury retreats in pristine coastal locations.
Opened in April, this is the newest remote camp: a partnership between Charles Carlow’s Wild Bush Luxury (Sal Salis, Bamurru Plains) and Paspaley Pearls. This was Australia’s first cultured pearl farm and off limits until now to all but company executives and Paspaley’s top customers. Learn about the pearling business; visit Camden Sound, the largest humpback whale nursery in the Southern Hemisphere; or watch Montgomery Reef appear out of the sea as the tide drops 12 metres. There are just three guestrooms in a traditional high-ceilinged lattice Broome-style building that opens onto a deep verandah with sweeping views over the bay. When the heat is on, cool off in the pool or a fresh-water swimming hole. Enjoy local seafood, including delicate pearl meat, and a tipple at the Pearlers Bar.
The Kimberley Coastal Camp has enjoyed a cult following amongst those who like their luxury wild and remote ever since Rocky Terry created his rough diamond back in 1994. New owners, the White brothers, have tipped a fortune into refurbishing the property, on the edge of Admiralty Gulf, a short helicopter ride from the three-tiered Mitchell Falls. This is a bucket list top spot for Robinson Crusoe luxe: a completely private location offering world-class barramundi fishing and amazing Bradshaw and Wandjina rock art. The artefact-filled main building, The Shed, is open on all sides to the sea breezes and the perfect place for stellar gourmet feasts of barramundi, Kimberley beef, oysters and crabs. Screened cabins are strung along the crushed-shell beach and simple but elegant shared ablutions facilities are set around a huge sandstone outcrop, open to the wide blue Kimberley sky. The small swimming pool is framed by boab and pink frangipani trees.
Created by Bruce and Robyn Ellison in the mid ’90s from massive pylons that once supported the Wyndham Wharf, Faraway Bay is another Kimberley camp that takes advantage of a setting amid red rock escarpments overlooking the Timor Sea. Eight screened, corrugated-iron cabins with 180-degree views of the bay have ensuite bathrooms with outdoor solar-heated showers ingeniously set into water tanks. Overlooking the spring-fed plunge pool, the open-sided, slate-floored Eagle Lodge is the heart and soul the property, where guests relax and spot crocs, dugongs and sharks while dining on buffet-style meals of tropical seafood and camp-oven roasts. New owners Kevin and Kathie Reilly have introduced a luxury 62-foot boat to cruise to the spectacular nearby King George Falls. Also on offer is terrific fishing, bird-watching, swimming in billabongs and treks to examine the Bradshaw and Wandjina art. You can even tee off at the cliff-top one-hole golf course!
Just a 1½ hour drive south of Broome, Eco Beach has stylish eco villas and a couple of beach houses as well as safari tents with ensuite bathrooms – all dotted along a broad sweep of untouched coastline. This is one of Australia’s most ambitious eco resorts, generating its own power and growing most of the fruit and vegetables it uses. There are a host of adventures including deep-sea game fishing and beach estuary fishing with an Indigenous guide, kayaking, bird-watching and hiking trips, and even a mud ’n’ bubbles spa in situ at pristine Jack’s Creek. In winter, take a boat tour to watch humpback whales breaching; in summer, see flatback turtles nesting in the dunes. The restaurant delivers exceptional locavore meals and there are daily yoga sessions in a studio overlooking the Indian Ocean.